Letter 1 - Being Thankful to God wCremona, May 31, 1530To the Reverend Father, Fra Battista da Crema,1of the Order of Preachers of St. Dominic,my venerable father in Christ.In Milan REVEREND FATHER IN CHRIST,I give thanks to God, for in His mercy He does not treat me as I deserve, and He subjects me only to such small trials that I tend to be unaware of them because of some reproachable insensitivity of mine, as our Donna8 Francesca of Vicenza9 used to remark while we were riding on horseback. I say this because it would have been a great consolation to me to receive a letter from you. But I understand that either your poor health or, no doubt, other good reasons have prevented you from writing at all. May you, dear Father, conform to God’s will, for I myself intend to conform to it, in spite of everything, and come what may. From my incident with Mr. Gerolamo10 something resulted about which the carrier Mr. Benedetto Romani11 will tell you. I won’t mention it, for it is quite complicated to express and requires many explanations. Mr. Romani will explain it to you by word of mouth. In all truth, dear Father, my wish is that you yourself would give it a satisfactory solution. It is up to you, of course, to keep me informed about this or any other matter, which you may think useful for me to know. I think our illustrious Countess12 and Donna Francesca are fully excused for not writing to me since they must be busy; and they will in turn excuse me, for I, too, am hindered from doing so. Recommend me to their prayers. The present carrier has expressed to me some of his ideas and says that he is somewhat acquainted with you. I heartily recommend him to you as, in my judgment, he seems to be good and simple, an upright man who fears God;13 he will do everything for you, and you will not be disappointed because I found him to be obedient and one of those who are said (...)14 both in actions and words. You will get to know him better than I can describe him. For God’s sake, may he be dear to you, as I am sure he will. My affairs move slowly, and my negligence delays them even more. Yet I will keep attending to them. My mother15 recommends herself to the prayers of the Countess and of Donna Francesca, and, first of all, to your prayers; Fra Bono16 and Mr. Francesco’s son17 asks for the same favor. Please, dear Father, don’t forsake me, and be my patron saint before God. May He set me free from my imperfections, faint-heartedness, and pride.From Cremona, the last day of May, 1530. The Victory Over Oneself should be written by me with deeds, not with ink.18 Your son in Christ,Anthony M. Zaccaria, PriestREFLECTIONSGod is generous and merciful. He does not only respond to our prayers, he also anticipates them. He wants our own good more than we ourselves do.Often times our response to God’s love is indifference. We give priority to things, and even ourselves, rather than God.Those who love conform themselves to God’s will. They renounce love of self; they “die to themselves.”The journey toward perfection is often slow. It may stop and even slip back. So at times we need a shake-up. We do not get discouraged. With God’s help, all is possible.We must devote ourselves to help others walk in the Spirit and to spur them on to give the best they can.QUESTIONSHow much interest do I take in, and how much time do I devote to, God and the Church?Am I aware that one gauge of my being in God is the time I devote to him and the importance I give to spiritual matters in my daily activities?Am I willing to sacrifice my own convenience for love of God?As I examine my life, can I honestly say that I have become better over the years?Do I encourage and help others grow spiritually?FOOTNOTES1. See Introduction of this letter and also Letters IV, V, and VII.2. See Antonio M. Gentili, “S. Antonio M. Zaccaria. Appunti per una Lettura
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